UTSA launches $13 million Read Malawi textbook and learning materials project

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Malawi schoolchildren

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(Oct. 16, 2009)--The UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) will officially launch the three-year Read Malawi project at 1:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 19 in the Main Building Regents Room (3.106) on the Main Campus. In partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the project will provide five million books to 1,000 elementary schools in Malawi. The UTSA event is free and open to the public.

The three-year, $13 million cooperative agreement between COEHD and the Republic of Malawi is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and is the largest amount of funding COEHD has received to date. USAID provides economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide that supports long-term and equitable economic growth and advances U.S. foreign policy.

>> Speakers at the event will include Sarah Moten, chief of the Africa Bureau Office of Sustainable Development, U.S. Agency for International Development Education Division; UTSA President Ricardo Romo; Misty Sailors, UTSA associate professor of interdisciplinary learning and teaching; and Elizabeth Pate, chair of the UTSA Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching.

The Read Malawi project will provide evaluation and revision of existing textbooks in Malawi, develop complimentary reading materials and teachers guides, produce 90 book titles in both English and Chichewa, the national language of Malawi, and promote shared reading of books across grade levels that builds healthy life skills.

With a population of 14 million, Malawi, a landlocked country in Southeast Africa, is among the world's least developed and most densely populated countries. The life expectancy is 43 years and nearly one million suffer from HIV/AIDS.

In addition to working to improve literacy rates in African countries, the UTSA Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching was recognized in 2008 as the first program in the United States to receive the International Reading Association Certificate of Distinction for Excellence in Teacher Preparation and Reading.

It's the second time in five years that the UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) was selected to provide educational materials and teacher training to improve literacy rates of children in Africa. In 2005, Misty Sailors, UTSA Associate Professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching, led the four year $2.5 million Ithuba Project in South Africa that provided 600,000 books for children in grades 1-7 in South Africa.

>> View a video on UTSA's Ithuba project.

The UTSA College of Education and Human Development is the leading provider of educators in the San Antonio area and one of the largest in Texas. Ranked third in the Unites States as producer of teacher-education degrees for Hispanics, the college is responsible for innovative research and grants in professional development, technology enhancement, health, school readiness, and bi-national and bicultural issues.